[Question #2552] Devastating HPV Recurrence?

42 months ago
Hello there, I am having what I would consider a horrible day.

About 8 years ago I had been told I had a wart which was removed and there was no issues for the last 8 years although I regularity got normal bumps checked out fearing the worst which they always laughed at and said was nothing. 

Eventually the doctor I had been seeing told me I needed to stop worrying and to move on with me life and new relationships considering how long it had been and that disclosure of what could have been a wart wasn't necessary. (I never got a biopsy or anything)

I heeded his advice and began a relationship with a great girl. We have been together for years. Last Thursday I noticed something which I thought was very small and looked like a shiny pimple. My doctor told me it was probably nothing. 

This wasn't good to hear so I went to an sti clinic and the nurse told me that it was a tiny wart and froze it off. He told me to never shave again and have my girlfriend get checked out. He was overall not very nice about it which I understand since this is his job.

My girlfriend has struggled with on and off abnormal Pap smears since before we met and seems somewhat educated on hpv but doesn't necessarily think she has it.

My question is do you think this is another strain I've received? Or a possible recurrence of what may or may have not been a wart 8 years ago. It's hard to be convinced that what I had today was even a wart but I have no choice but to accept what the nurse said. 

I avoided dating for years until I was told by a doctor not to worry about transmission. I can't imagine what my girl would say if she thought I was hiding something. We are in a serious relationship and I felt like she is the one. 

I haven't been able to eat anything and I am looking for any advice at all.

Thank you
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  Reading your post, it appears to me that even before we get to discussion of the bump you recently noticed. I should point out that you seem to have a disproportionate level of concern about HPV and HPV infections.  For nearly everyone with HPV, the infection is a nuisance which is acquired by post sexually active persons. Conservative estimates are that over 80% of Americans have HPV and for most of those persons there will be no consequence.  In fact, even without therapy, most HPV infections will go away and no longer be detectable even without therapy.  For a small proportion of women, the infection will lead to PAP smear abnormalities and for a very tiny proportion (less than 1%) of women the infection will lead to cancer (which can be detected early and reliably in the course of routine sexual health care).  For men, the infection is of even less consequence VERY RARELY (in a small fraction of 1% of cases) leading to cancer.  Thus, in the opinion of most experts, worrying about HPV and/or transmission to others is a waste of time (since virtually everyone who has not take the HPV vaccine has it).  OTOH, we also find that many persons have unwarranted and disproportionate concerns about HPV, perhaps fueled by the word cancer and by the vast amount of incorrect and mis-interpreted material which appears on the internet.

As for the lesion you discovered and recently had frozen, I see little reason for concern, both because is may not be a wart and because if it is, you and your current GF have already been exposed to it (more on both of these points below).  Further, since the lesion was frozen, you will probably really never know what it was.  I would not assume that the lesion you saw was a wart.  Visual evaluation of  genital skin lesions is very unreliable. There are a huge number of non-HPV processes which can cause genital skin bumps of the sort you describe.  Unfortunately, many clinicians call all or most such bumps "warts" when many are not.  Since treatment is non-specific, treatment deprives you of the opportunity to find out what it really is (if finding out is even important).

Further, as I implied above, since you and your GF have been together for several years, I see no reason to have this change your sex life.  You have both been exposure to one another in the past and what is going to happen has. 

I hope these comments are helpful.  EWH
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42 months ago
Thanks for your insight! It's nice to hear your thoughts. 

Do you think I've done everything morally? Not disclosing my potential wart in the past which wasn't biposied either. I never thought anything of that one either. 

My partner seemed to not be too concerned when we talked about this little episode. Perhaps I shouldn't have jumped into the sti clinic that soon after noticing a bump. It could have been a cyst or pimple. She accepts that whatever I have, she has and isn't planning to end the relationship.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago
As you mentioned, your partner is well informed about abnormal PAP smears and HPV on the basis of her own experience.  Her response is entirely appropriate.  You have discussed your "bump" with her which is the right thing to do.  I do not think you have done anything wrong by not having disclosed your treated wart years before you began your current relationship.  You've done it all right.  EWH
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42 months ago
Thank you for everything. This information will literally help me sleep tonight and continue on with my daily activities. It's good to know this forum exists for people out there who suffer from problems like this. 

The stigma is strong and it shouldn't be. Wart or not, things will be fine and I shouldn't feel unaccepted either way. They are not a forever problem from what I have read on these forums and I shouldn't let it have power of my mental health.


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago
Thanks for your thanks and reflection. You are right on target.  EWH
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